ALBUM REVIEW

Monolith Cocktail

Metamono   ‘Creative Listening’    29th February 2016

Following the London trio’s debut album With The Compliments Of Nuclear Physics in 2013, the Metamono mavericks once again apply the “back-to-basics” mechanics of an age devoid of algorithms and automation. Not for them the aloof and cold-calculated machinations of Kraftwerk. The ingenuity and homemade tinfoil drum pads perhaps. But embracing the complete abandonment of the human, for a soulless synchronisation with the machine? Forget it.

The same goes for the direction of synthesizer-based music in general. In its many forms enervated by a “hands off” approach, with technology taking over completely and demoting the artist to by-stander at his own gig, just pushing light show friendly buttons at opportune moments and nodding their heads to the pre-ordered laptop soundtrack.

And so, with a manifesto of intent and purpose to back-up their dismissal of the contemporary electronic music scene, Metamono adopt a more humanistic, personal, and at times, humorous approach to making music and performing. Informed by the Zodiak Free Arts Club patrons of the late 1960s, Eno’s Another Green World and the early developments in techno, Metamono compose improvised misadventures on – by technological standards – antiquated equipment. Retro-futurism played in an often happenstance manner, it helps that the trio boast the combined knowledge and experience of Jono Podmore, Paul Conboy and Mark Hill.

Attuned to the Musik Von Harmonia, Klause Schulze and Asmus Tietchens but without pretension and with a sense of mischief on the surface, there is also a sense of protest and omnipresent unease at the course of history. Despite a lack of vocals, song titles and snatches of untethered broadcasts hint at the group’s wider concerns. The creation of their music is activism in itself to a degree. However, stepping into the light, a sense of optimism prevails, the trio returning decades later to the positive explorations that motivated their initial studies and love for the genre.

 

Stripping away some of the “clutter-clatter” of their last album, Metamono find more space on Creative Listening. Featuring material from their BFI commissioned Secrets Of Nature soundtrack, performed live and premiered in 2014, their second album has an earthly, naturalistic appeal, as well as reaching for the stars. The Secrets Of Nature was a fond accompaniment to the pioneer filming techniques of time lapse and micro cinematography used to chronicle the wonders of nature at the turn of the last century. Name checking the progenitor of that technology, Metamono drop a blossoming, unfurled homage to Percy Smith, and later on with the album’s finale, ‘Birth Of A Flower’ ponder over those wondrous moments captured for prosperity to the tune of tinfoil percussion, obscured transmissions from a laboratory radio, and the microscopic magnifications of flora and fauna as transmogrified through a hair brain analogue network of machines. Zooming out from terra firma, into the expanses of space, Metamono climb aboard a Soyuz rocket on the whistling, bubbling and rambunctious ‘Cloth Ears’. Eyebrow raising sounds bounce off Sputnik transmitting satellites as some unidentified radio show interviewee likens his studied sonic diffusions tot “the sound of bacon crackling in the background”.

Serendipitous lunar mapping with the echoes of The Orb’s distant ambient barrowed voices and Qluster’s piano notes reverberating across George Melies’ A Trip To The Moon inform the ‘Ugla’ soundscape, whilst serenity, of a sort, reigns on the cascading Sci-Fi eastern bloc soundtrack ‘Cocooned’, and a kinetic space theatre, as directed by the Ballet Ruses, shuffles between lolloping Mouse On Mars intersected nodes and pure daftness on ‘Daddy’.

 

Staying close to their “instrumentarium” of wide-eyed discovery, the Metamono do vary the blueprint circuitry very slightly on their second album. With a certain confidence and far more room to manoevre around in, Creative Listening lingers for longer in dreamy expanses, the awkward piques and peculiar left field object sounds acting in a more harmonious union with the melodies. Essentially the Metamono continue to offer an alternative to the dullness and anonymity of the contemporary electronic music scene.



Words: Dominic Valvona



Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: